Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Hi everyone,

As I watch the expansion of Jiu-Jitsu around the world, I cant help but notice the onslaught of complete amateurs teaching classes to others.
The blind leading the blind.
When Jiu-Jitsu first hit the national stage in the USA, there was an initial backlash as other martial arts struggled to find a reply to the power of Jiu-Jitsu. Suddenly, from every corner, there were "anti Jiu-Jitsu " systems, and even more amazingly, other martial arts were displaying their "long hidden" ground fighting tech found inside katas that had nothing to do with ground fighting.

What a joke.

On another level, systems like Sambo, that had only rudimentary tech on the ground, started to imitate the moves they saw in Jiu-Jitsu. This type of incorporation is a natural part of the evolution of martial arts. i think the people who wanted to use Jiu-Jitsu should have went and learned it from a BJJ black belt, but many were too proud to do that.
So much for humility in martial arts.

I hear a lot of beginners in BJJ, who are ranked on other arts, say "I feel like I wasted all that time", and I tell them that we all have to learn everything we can to be complete. Just because one man starts his journey on the ground and another starts it on his feet doesn't mean anyone has wasted their time, just continue to learn.

The next thing I saw happening was purple or blue belts teaching people.
Good God.
Although this is one small step above imitation, it's not far from it. Do you go to some one in their first year of med school when you're sick? Why not? After all, he knows more than you. He can kick your butt as far as medical knowledge goes, right?
A purple belt teaching class, in the academy, under the supervision of a real black belt, is ok as long as the black belt is giving him the curriculum and he doesn't go out side the boundaries given to him by the black belt. A blue belt helping his beginner partner in class with a move the class is working on is fine, as long as there is a black belt IN THE ROOM watching the class.

Purple belts running programs and blue belts teaching classes is ridiculous. There is a reason the belt is purple, and although some one with a purple belt has learned some things and can win matches against white and blue belts, there are a lot of things he does wrong everyday on the mat. I see purple belts who have a few good moves that work well for them and they know how to get those positions pretty regularly, but outside of those few positions, they struggle.
Black belts are good at many positions, hundreds of positions. High level black belts can often do a move well only having seen it once. That is because they understand JIU-JITSU, not just moves.

Learn from a black belt. Because there is a reason the belt is purple.


  1. D,
    i couldnt agree with you more, this an example of why after all my years of training, dozens of amature fights, dozens of proffesional fights i still carry the blue belt rank given to me. in the small country community theres no such thing as a legitimate jiu jitsu blackbelt,
    my quest has taken my over the mountain and back many times with the same results, lower ranked guys teaching programs they are in no way qualified to run. then theirs the black belts who pop up that cant ever seem to give you a straight answer, i ask " who and where did you receive your black belt form" there reply is always something next to comical, all i know is legitimate blackbelts have no problem answering that question, in fact me being a mid ranked blue belt i can still tell you the exact date i recived my belt as it was such a monumental moment in my life even though its by no means an advanced ranking in my opinion, surely someone reciveing there blackbelt would be able to give you there linage in a heartbeat? not always the case in this day and age. Id rather be a blue belt the rest of my life then be a higher rank that is not valid. to me i stopped caring about the rank as i knew it was a lost cause for me, life brought me to where i am and ive been blessed in so many other ways that those things out weighed everything else in my life. jiu-jitus has always been such a passion to me and still is to this day, but i refuse to support this misguided attempts to run jiu jitsu programs by non qualified individuals, its pretty bad when you come out of solid training camp for years and seeing all the bullshit that people try to pull off this day and age, any tom , dick , or jerry can go buy a blackbelt at big 5 it doesn't mean there worthy of wearing it!
    my hats off to you Dartanian for always being an inspiration, a good friend and a REAL Blackbelt. your students are lucky to have you!
    one word that i remember from the early days of your academy that has always stuck with me.


  2. Im just wondering who pays to have a blue belt teach them??

  3. hans - i appreciate your comments. even though you're far away i still consider you my student and one of my best blue belts. i hope we get a chance to train together again.

    aaron k - hey aaron, i'd pay you to teach me, haha.